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Thread: Should male pair skaters also control their weight?

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    Should male pair skaters also control their weight?

    I observed an interesting phenominon that there seems to be a lot of pressure on female skaters to keep thin. When you see a female skater starts to struggle with her jumps, the first reaction usually is: She seems to have gained some weight this year, maybe that's why her jumps are no longer consistent.

    But people seldom comment on what kind of impact several extra pounds can have on a male skater's jumping capability. Here's my random observations of several male pair skaters.


    1. Zhang/Zhang, Hao Zhang(M)
    2. Maria PETROVA / Alexei TIKHONOV, Alexei TIKHONOV(M)
    3. Dorota SIUDEK / Mariusz SIUDEK, Mariusz SIUDEK(M)
    4. Rena INOUE / John BALDWIN, John Baldwin(M)

    All four male pair skaters seem a bit out of shape(you can argue Hao Zhang is more on the beefy side), and all four guys have problems with their sbs jumps this season.

    In fact, I have not seen TIKHONOV and Siudek landing any clean jumps this season. Does this have anything to do their weight? Should they start to be on diet?

    On the other hand, Hongbao Zhao is already 33 years old, but he is in much better shape than all three 'old' male pair skaters, he also has the most consistent sbs jumps this season despite having to recover from that horrible archilles tendon injury.

    In fact I read a diary on shen & zhao's blog back in September on how both shen & zhao took strict measures at the beginning of the season to lose some extra pounds gained during off-season.(they are actually in pretty good shape even during off-season). Zhao commented that losing weight is beneficial for his jumps.

    Don't you think male pair skaters need to control their weight in order to keep their sbs jumps consistent? or if I can change the question a bit, Do you think weight is one major reason why those male pair skaters can not land clean sbs jumps?

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    All Hail Queen Yu-Na!!!!!! SailorGalaxia518's Avatar
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    Well, all I know is that they need to be buff so they can lift their partner in the air

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    Quote Originally Posted by SailorGalaxia518 View Post
    Well, all I know is that they need to be buff so they can lift their partner in the air
    No, they need both lift and stand on their own feet. LOL.

    There's an interesting diary written by Zhao. He mentioned one day he felt a bit dizzy and it's probably because he'd been cutting back on food too much! They even provided a one-day dietary menu. If my memory services me correct, it reads like this.

    Breakfast: Coffee, a small piece of bread.
    Training
    Lunch: Nothing
    Training
    Dinner: Eggs/Vegetables.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Yikes. Anyone who would eat like that would be bound to follow it up with a binge.

    I remember reading once that the ballerina Gelsey Kirkland would dine on steak immediately prior to performing. It didn't say how MUCH steak, though.

    Excess thinness is also a problem, isn't it? Sasha fans have speculated that she jumps better when she is heavier. Of course that does not mean heavy ...

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    Like any sport - if you want to perform to the best of your abilities - or improve over what you already can do - than you stay/improve your conditioning. There is no double standard. Those you do not stay in shape should know that they sacrifice some the 'edge' they could have had in their competition performance level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    Yikes. Anyone who would eat like that would be bound to follow it up with a binge.

    I remember reading once that the ballerina Gelsey Kirkland would dine on steak immediately prior to performing. It didn't say how MUCH steak, though.

    Excess thinness is also a problem, isn't it? Sasha fans have speculated that she jumps better when she is heavier. Of course that does not mean heavy ...
    No, you don't get the whole picture. Shen & Zhao are definitely not eating like that every day. It's a August diary and they just came into intense training season. So they took some measures to get their weight around 'optimum' level. When they reached that level, the training itself would take care of weight.

    Zhao found lighter body did make him easier to jump ,and also less destructive to his injuried achilles' tendon. Shen usually maintains 42.5 kg during competition season.

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    Yeah! Lets get this party started. enlight78's Avatar
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    I'm finding this very interesting. What I do know is the a male doesn't have to be very heavy to be very strong. My football team a had plenty of guys around 160 that could lift about as much as the guys above 200. Each athelete just has to find the balance that is best for him or her.

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    Shen & Zhao's weight control

    To make this interesting, I just dug out some excerpts on how Shen & Zhao attempted to control their weight in new season.

    Oct 1.

    ....
    'My optimum weight is around 41kg, if i'm too heavy, Hao Bo will suffer,' Shen quipped.

    Xue Shen mentioned on their blog of a daily menu: breakfast, a cup of coffee, two pieces of bread; lunch: vegetables; dinner: some milk. During interview, we found this was not an exaggeration. A team assistant knocked at their door and sent in some food, a piece of bread. The assistant also reminded shen that's for tomorrow's breakfast, and she should not eat it at night.

    In fact, Hong Bo Zhao is also on diet. He only eats one meal a day. 'A couple of days ago, Hong Bo Zhao was so hungry and he asked me to cook him some noodles. Eventually he decided to only eat half a bowl and dump the other half.' Xue told us,'To control weight is always a test of self-control, without discipline, it's hard to do.'

    It's understandable that female partner needs to be lighter, but why male partner?
    Xue explained to us,'At the beginning of each season, we have to lose some weight, Zhao had injuries to his achilles tendon, when he becomes lighter, it's easier to jump, and easier to be injury free.'

    Xue continued ,'our way of controlling weight is not very healthy, but we're used to it. Please don't follow our example.'
    Last edited by iloveaxel; 12-12-2006 at 10:14 PM.

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    I am horrified that anyone would look at that meagre diet and think it is remotely enough calories for an adult male to survive on, let alone an adult male athlete in intensive training.
    I don't care if he decided he had to lose some extra pounds from the off-season. Doing it by such extreme dieting is not good for your health.
    Such a limited number of calories would be extremely dangerous for a skater who was practicing. Weakness, loss of mental acuity — these are things that have been proven to result from hunger and lack of proper nutrition. The latter is one of the big reasons that many schools have breakfast programs to make sure kids eat before they start their school day. These conditions exponentially increase the risk of injury not only to himself but to his partner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rain View Post
    I am horrified that anyone would look at that meagre diet and think it is remotely enough calories for an adult male to survive on, let alone an adult male athlete in intensive training.
    I don't care if he decided he had to lose some extra pounds from the off-season. Doing it by such extreme dieting is not good for your health.
    Such a limited number of calories would be extremely dangerous for a skater who was practicing. Weakness, loss of mental acuity — these are things that have been proven to result from hunger and lack of proper nutrition. The latter is one of the big reasons that many schools have breakfast programs to make sure kids eat before they start their school day. These conditions exponentially increase the risk of injury not only to himself but to his partner.
    I am surprised that you think they are the ONLY skaters out there are doing this.
    I am pretty sure many skaters are doing exactly the same thing. There's no need to be alarmed. They have team doctors regularly monitor their conditions. There's a lot of 'unhealthy training things' that athletes are doing everyday to stay competitive.

    You've never heard of athletes in weight lifting can decrease a couple of pounds off their body before the competition? This is done on a regular basis.

    Plus, they are not on such diet forever. When their body weight drops to their optimum level, I'm pretty they would just stop...
    Last edited by iloveaxel; 12-12-2006 at 10:44 PM.

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    Yeah! Lets get this party started. enlight78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iloveaxel View Post
    Xue continued ,'our way of controlling weight is not very healthy, but we're used to it. Please don't follow our example.'
    Use to it! How long have they been doing this? I thought this was maybe something they did maybe once before. Do they do it every season? I don't like this one bit. Wouldn't be better to just stay in shape by adopting another sport during the off season?

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    Quote Originally Posted by enlight78 View Post
    Use to it! How long have they been doing this? I thought this was maybe something they did maybe once before. Do they do it every season? I don't like this one bit. Wouldn't be better to just stay in shape by adopting another sport during the off season?
    Do you think it's easy to maintain 41 kg all year long? It's impossible. That's the result of an intense training season. If you gain, let's say 5 lb-10lb, and you try to get it down within 10-15 days at the beginning of a season, I see no alarm bell to have a diet like that.

    I'm surprised that many folks think this is some secret. All skaters do this all the time under the supervision of team doctors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iloveaxel View Post
    Do you think it's easy to maintain 41 kg all year long? It's impossible. That's the result of an intense training season. If you gain, let's say 5 lb-10lb, and you try to get it down within 10-15 days at the beginning of a season, I see no alarm bell to have a diet like that.

    I'm surprised that many folks think this is some secret. All skaters do this all the time under the supervision of team doctors.
    A diet like that is not healthy, not EVER. Eating such small amounts of food as dangerous, not only because it isn't enough to sustain a person for normal activities but also because it does not give an athlete enough fuel to get through intense workouts. It would be very easy for someone on such a diet to become lightheaded, dizzy, or weak all of a sudden during practice and either fall or drop their partner or something like that and cause serious injury. Not to mention the effects that a diet like that has on a persons metablism. And trying to lose 5-10 pounds in 10 or 15 days is not healthy or safe, either. I know that a lot of skaters, as well as other athletes, do it but that does not make it safe. And I don't know of any respectable doctor that would recommend a diet like that, or such quick weight loss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dancindiva03 View Post
    A diet like that is not healthy, not EVER. Eating such small amounts of food as dangerous, not only because it isn't enough to sustain a person for normal activities but also because it does not give an athlete enough fuel to get through intense workouts. It would be very easy for someone on such a diet to become lightheaded, dizzy, or weak all of a sudden during practice and either fall or drop their partner or something like that and cause serious injury. Not to mention the effects that a diet like that has on a persons metablism. And trying to lose 5-10 pounds in 10 or 15 days is not healthy or safe, either. I know that a lot of skaters, as well as other athletes, do it but that does not make it safe. And I don't know of any respectable doctor that would recommend a diet like that, or such quick weight loss.
    Those conventional wisdom does not really convince me. They have team doctors, and they've been doing this for years, and I frankly don't see some lasting side effect.

    I also should point out 41.5kg as 'optimum level' refers to 'optimum' to their competition. It's definitely not an optimum level for her throughout the season. That's why I think it's ridiculous to ask her to 'maintain' such light weight even during off-season.

    Anyway, back to the main topic, I do believe most of the male skaters I mentioned should at least try to lose some weight. Just judging by their appearance, the chance to land a clean triple is hardly over 50%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iloveaxel View Post
    Those conventional wisdom does not really convince me. They have team doctors, and they've been doing this for years, and I frankly don't see some lasting side effect.
    Now I really think you're off your rocker. Conventional wisdom? No lasting side effect? You must not have any knowledge of nutrition, or of the human body. When a person drastically lowers their caloric intake, the body responds by slowing metabolism to conserve energy. When the dieter begins eating "normal" portions again they often find themselves gaining excessive amounts of weight because their metabolism is screwed up. There is also the issue of not getting proper nutrients. The body can't recover properly from injuries/illness, bones weaken and are easily fractured. Just because their "team doctors" are telling them that it is okay (sorry excuses for doctors they must be), does not mean that it really is.

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